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Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but one of Donald Trump’s most shocking claims about a southern border wall has proven a bit exaggerated. The president claimed in Friday’s bizarre Rose Garden presser that several of his predecessors “have told me that we should have” built a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, though he declined to name which former presidents supported it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, representatives for the Bush family and Bill Clinton have denied the allegation.
“This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me and they all know it,” Trump said. “Some of them have told me that we should have done it.”
Clinton spokesperson Angel Ureña explicitly refuted the president’s assertion, adding that the two men have “not talked since the inauguration.” Bush representative Freddy Ford said the wall has never been discussed between the two. Former president George H.W. Bush died in November, though it is seen as unlikely he and Trump had any significant discussion of a wall. Trump has famously kept his distance from the Bush family in the wake of past comments and a 2016 presidential campaign rivalry with Jeb Bush. Trump did not attend the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush in April.
That just leaves former presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, both of whom have criticized Trump’s positions on immigration. An Obama spokesperson reportedly declined comment, though Obama himself has come out against the wall on numerous occasions. Carter, like Obama, has pushed for technological advancements to strengthen U.S. border security, according to The New York Times, but not the kind of wall that Trump is seeking $5 billion to build. A senior administration official reportedly suggested that Trump was “referring to public comments his predecessors have made about the need for border security, not necessarily for a wall specifically.”